will we love the wall or the bridge? – Freedom

In March 2020, around 3:30 a.m., an unidentified man picked up a car in the small parking lot next to St. Louis. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Basel, took off his pants and then grabbed the bonnet, shouting that he was waking him up. up the owner. From the window, he filmed the scene. “The crank is having sex with my BMW”, he said, testifying that the stranger left obvious signs of his crime. The newspaper 20 minutes narrating the case speaks of “objectophilia”. The term dates from 2002 (1), but it refers to a category of people whose existence – especially the elderly – has aroused growing interest among researchers. How do we talk about people who love something they haven’t made specimens of in a category of sweet fools straight from a freak-show?

In 1984, American anthropologist Gayle Rubin (pioneer of queer theory) was the first to refute traditional arguments – those of psychologists – that equated “objectophilia” with a psycho -sexual disorder. In an article titled “Thinking about sex,” he joked: “No one who loves spicy food is accused of immorality, imprisoned or excluded from his family. But a person can go to jail for being too fond of leather shoes. Borrowing from Foucault the idea that desires are social works and that “New sexuality is always being created”, Gayle Rubin (2) rebels against the system that punishes or damages various erotic tastes. Individuals whose sexual behavior is consistent with the norm are rewarded “a certificate of good mental health”, he said. Some are thought to be sick, or worse: contagious.

Married at the Berlin Wall

What if the deviations spread like viruses? Fear exists, fueled by the growing perception of bizarre sexual communities networking and sharing their intimate stories. This is the case, in particular, with members of the “objectum sexuality” (OS) group. The expression OS began in the 1970s: at the very moment that Foucault, in his history of sexuality, that society favored the proliferation of novel erotic acts, a Swedish woman called Eija-Riitta Eklöf (1954-2015) created the expression “object sexuality “ to teach his fascination with things. In 1979, she married Berlin Wall, changing her surname to Berliner-Mauer (“Berlin Wall” in German). In 1996, he created the first website dedicated to attractions for artifacts and buildings. In 1999, he launched an online forum, so that the movement could be integrated through networks.

As a child, Eija-Riitta was already very attracted to iron or wooden structures marked with parallel lines, railroads, guillotines, bridges and symmetrical constructions. At the age of 7, as his legend suggests, he saw a wall on television: the Berlin wall or, put it in his own words “the sexiest wall in existence”. A designer by profession, Eija-Riitta saves money to travel to Berlin as often as possible. After the fall of the Wall, at the end of 1989, she considered herself a widow. Long unsettled, she ended up remarrying a red wooden fence. The little red barrier now serves as a logo for members of the OS community. This community counts, among its founding members, an American archery champion, Erika LaBrie, who fell in love with the Eiffel Tower in 2004.

The Eiffel Tower, cars, a helicopter

Erika’s story, aka “Mrs. Eiffel”, equally shines through Eija-Riitta. At first, Ericka fell in love with an archer but she left because, she said, “I chose his bow over him”. In fact, he has a real love for curved, curved objects, of tension – Japanese swords, fighter planes … and so, “meeting” at the Eiffel Tower during a visit to Paris, felt he was struck by lightning. On November 8, 2007, Erika invited relatives to the commitment ceremony she celebrated at the top of the tower. Anointing the rivets, embracing the beams, among the tourists who marveled at the sight, he expressed his love: “You’re in the metal and I’m in the flesh. You bet, I’m bleeding. You’re cold, I’m hot. You shine, I sing.

In a National Geographic documentary titled Forbidden Lovecalling herself Erika Eiffel stated: “I’m a loving person, very loving, but in love with something.” In the same documentary, Edward Smith, a 66-year-old Briton, claims to have had sex with more than seven hundred cars and an attack helicopter but remained connected in his first conquest: Coccinella Vanilla , a 1965 Volkswagen. these unique connections? In 2010, Jennifer Terry, a humanities researcher and gender and sexuality specialist at the University of California, tried to show that love for something (a chandelier, a merry-go-round, a station on the train or a video game, for example) “It’s not as strange as you think”.

Suspicion and clichés

In the media, two explanations are often put forward: Asperger’s syndrome and childhood trauma. It is actually always remembered that Erika suffered sexual violence when she was young. The suspicion of mental retardation weighs heavily on members of the OS, who are often caught on camera engaging in seemingly obscure “intimate” acts: running their fingers over a ball bearing and then put grease on their faces, lean against the wall and whisper sweet things to him. A “sick thing”, in the eyes of the general public. For Jennifer Terry, the media is to blame because they pathologize sexuality that is considered abnormal. Should we, for all that, define the attraction of things as an “orientation”, to be put together with heterosexuality or homosexuality? It’s nice to be tempted to subscribe to this idea because it makes it possible to defend another “matugtanon” where no one will be judged (neither by their tastes in food nor by their favorite companions).

In fact, OS members were the first to declare who they were “born like this” and “like people who love people of flesh and bone”, they build a real relationship of exchanging the thing because “The thing has a consciousness”, as they are. The thing loves them, the thing desires them and their love is accompanied by a “spiritual connection” that exceeds the intensity of any other type of attachment, they say. However, the discursive strategy of sexual matters does not deceive anyone: in their desire to make their actions legitimate, they end up changing the oldest clichés of the dominant bourgeois ideology. They talk about exclusive love and romantic marriage. They embarrass fetishists who, in their eyes, are crooked because “Fetishists abuse the things they use as instruments of masturbation”. In doing so, they not only copy the moral judgments and stereotypes they claim to resist, but they follow a system that places conjugal monogamy at the top of the hierarchy in the order of desires.

Worse: under the guise of fighting against a medical discourse (which is in nosographic categories), they continue its logic because they themselves invent new labels. Thus, within the community of sexual objects, some claim their character as mechasexuals (lovers and lovers of machinery and cars), while others rally on the scale of furnituresexuals (lovers and lovers of furniture and suga). Articles recounting more unusual cases of heterodox love are proliferating. Now, not a month goes by without a surprise to journalists in a union “throw away” -help form new amorous acts, favor the emergence of birth discourse and, thus, reinforce the idea that sexuality is not something you do but something you are.

Targeting something is wrong!

The story repeats itself. In the 19th century, physicians requalified behaviors into sexual identity (the act became a constitutive “orientation” of being) and liberalized the deviations they treated as simple variants to classify ( from acceptable to illegal). In the 21st century, pro-sexual activists are changing the same destructive logic. They claim a label that assigns them the ability to seek out only a certain category of partners, in the limited – safe – space of a small perimeter of love. They then claim the right to exist in the name of values ​​borrowed from the heteronormative order: loving marriage, consensual relationships, and so on. Some go so far as to condemn entertainment as if it were a heinous crime, accusing fetishists.“instrumentalize the thing they make into a sex toy” and D ‘“abusing him by ignoring his emotional needs”.

(1) “Love Among the Objectum Sexuals”, article by psychologist Amy Marsh, published in Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Flying. 13, March 2010.
(2) Gayle Rubin. Watch and enjoy. Paris, EPEL, coll. “The classics of erotology”.

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